INDIANAPOLIS — AJ Allmendinger is on a roll here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His photo still resides on the back of the iconic Pagoda here on these hallowed grounds from his win in last year’s inaugural Verizon 200. That photo he says is special. It’s a one that he paused while driving out of here with a bad hangover from celebrating his win here a night prior, that he stopped the car on the way out the next day and asked if his photo would be displayed up there.
When told yes, he was blown away that his image would be displayed at this place. He’s entered in the NASCAR Cup Series race again this weekend in hopes of a repeat and a new photo going up.
However, he’ll also hope to win Saturday’s Pennzoil 150 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, IMS Radio Network) too. Allmendinger will do so from the pole as he took his No. 16 Chevrolet to the top spot in the final round of NASCAR Xfinity Series qualifying around the 2.439-mile road course on Friday with a time of 1:29.748-seconds.
It was his 3rd pole of the season and 6th of his career. He also started on the pole here last year and finished runner-up. His 3 IMS road course finishes are 4th, 2nd and 1st.
He’ll be joined on the front row by Ty Gibbs. The grandson of Joe Gibbs is also pulling double duty this weekend as he’ll also replace the sidelined Kurt Busch in Sunday’s race. Gibbs qualified with a time of 1:29.842-seconds.
Gibbs currently leads the NASCAR Xfinity Series with four wins this season, the most recent on a road course – Road America on July 2. He also has Xfinity wins at the Daytona Road Course (2021) and Watkins Glen (2021).
He qualified 5th here last year.
Riley Herbst, Alex Bowman and Sam Mayer rounded out the top five in qualifying.
3 of the top 4 speeds in the final round came from Group B. 4 of the top 6 starting spots belong to drivers pulling double duty this weekend.
Prior to qualifying, we had a short practice session. AJ Allmendinger led that too over Austin Hill, Alex Labbe, Sheldon Creed and Chase Briscoe.